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56                                       VEBDICT  OX INDIA

is a long step from Wilberforce to Keynes, from Dickens to
Beveridge.

EspeciaUy is this true about India. There is more sheer pain
to the square mile in India than in any part of the world, but the
thought of it seems to keep very few people awake at night.
Perhaps this apparent callousness is due in some measure to the
Hindu doctrine of Karma. If you believe that a child in pain is
merely paying for its wickedness in a previous incarnation, why
should you pity it ? Pity plays a very small part in Hindu
philosophy.

Time and again I used to draw people's attention in India to
pain in some form or another ; it may have been only to ask why
a child was crying in the street or it may have been to indicate
some widespread social abuse. They were seldom interested
objectively; their reactions were not direct; pain, to them, was
merely something which must be fitted into the political pattern.
In whatever shape it appeared it must, somehow or other, be
made the responsibility of the British Raj. "When we get inde-
pendence,' they said, 'all these things will cease.' I was tempted
to suggest that even in 'free' countries men still have toothache.

ii
Consider the two shocking examples with which we began this
chapter—the shortage of nurses and the scourge of tuberculosis.
A Congress propagandist, of course, would blame the British
for both these deplorable facts. He would say, 'You have been
here for 150 years ; what have you done about it ? *
Well—what could we, what can we do about it ?
In India nursing is still regarded as a dishonourable profession
by the vast majority of Indian, women; They would degrade
themselves by tending the sick and wounded. The prejudices of
Victorian England, which Florence Nightingale had to fight, are
mere whims and lancies compared with the hide-bound rules of
caste and custom wtich govern Hindu womanhood. India is still
in the days- of Mrs: feamp.
That is why so fege a proportion of the tiny corps of nurses is